Update: Carson City responds to Nevada governor's order that non-essential businesses must close or face tough penalties

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak responds to a question during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Sisolak ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak responds to a question during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Sisolak ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Saying too many businesses and officials are ignoring his directive that all non-essential businesses shut down, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday made it mandatory under threat of civil or even criminal action.

He said on the Tuesday, “I asked them to close.”

“I’m no longer asking them to do that, I am directing all non-essential businesses to close,” he said.” If you are not an essential business, I am using my power as governor under an emergency declaration to order you to close.”

He said he has signed a new emergency regulation giving local government the authority to impose penalties including taking their business licenses away.

He said, “state and local law enforcement will have the ability to treat it as a criminal act” if businesses don’t close their doors.

But he deflected a question about which officials he may have been referring to, saying, “they know who they are.”

Among those not complying are some businesses in Storey County where, after his Tuesday directive, advised businesses in that county that they don’t have to close.

Among those businesses is the Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory that employs some 5,000 people. Attempts to reach Tesla to find out if they planned to close were not successful.

Sisolak said closing everything non-essential, “is our only chance at flattening the curve” — meaning slowing the growth of the infection rate. Otherwise, he warned, Nevada’s healthcare systems will soon be overloaded and in crisis.

He said about 80 percent of Nevada’s acute care hospital beds are full at any given time, leaving just 20 percent to absorb the influx from those infected by the virus.

“Our chances of economic recovery are better if we make this decision today,” he said. “Stay at home for Nevada and close your doors now so we can get them opened sooner.”

He said he understands the damage this situation may be causing to a lot of “mom and pop” businesses but said that, “this is not the time to try find loopholes.”

“The primary focus right now is preventing the spread of the virus.”

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